As the City of New Westminster ponders how to meet the recreational needs of a growing community, its next-door neighbour is getting set to open a new multi-million dollar facility.
The City of Burnaby expects to open its new Edmonds Community Centre by the end of April. Located on Edmonds Street in South Burnaby, the facility includes a six-lane, 25metre pool, a leisure pool, warm swim and therapy lanes, a lazy river with two channels, double water slides, a twin gymnasium, multipurpose spaces and other recreation and community spaces.
Dave Ellenwood, Burnaby's director of park, recreation and cultural services, said the City of Burnaby did an aquatic services review in 2005 and found it was short of pool space, especially in this area of Burnaby. He said the facility is a "perfect fit" in the Edmonds area and could attract folks from New Westminster.
"It ates fluctu-accord-ing to who has the newest facility, what works on their commute," Ellenwood said. "We expect we will get a fair number of New Westminster people using this facility."
According to Ellenwood, construction costs are in the $36-million range and the total project cost will be about $45 million, when design, engineering and other soft costs are included. He said the City of Burnaby has equipment replacement and land acquisition reserves, which it's been able to draw from to build the facility.
"We are in a pretty enviable position," he said. "We have healthy reserves."
Across the border, the City of New Westminster is considering how it will finance the renewal or replacement of the Canada Games Pool that was built in 1973. As part of its 2013 budget deliberations, council will discuss the idea of establishing a civic facility replacement reserve, which
would fund the eventual replacement/ renewal of the city's aging inventory.
N e w Westminster Coun. Jonathan Cote said whenever a new, modern facility opens in a neighbouring municipality there is bound to be an impact, but Canada Games Pool is a "unique facility" that continues to draw people from New Westminster and other communities.
He said the facility's attendance peaked in the mid 1990s.
"Every time a neighbouring city puts in a modern facility, it has an impact on Canada Games Pool," he said. "I would anticipate the opening of the new pool in Burnaby would have an impact too."
Dean Gibson, New Westminste's director of parks, culture and recreation, said the opening of the new pool in Burnaby could have a modest impact on Canada Games Pool, as people pop over the border to check out the new facility. He said the two facilities are different on a number of fronts.
Gibson pointed out that the Edmonds pool would have 25-metre swim lanes, while Canada Games Pool has 50-m swim lanes that appeal to user groups such as swim clubs and early bird swimmers who like to have the long distance swims.
"What happens is, like anything, it's about - you begin to develop a camaraderie with your fellow swimmers," he said. "You feel comfortable swimming with friends. That is one of the things we see."
Gibson added that Canada Games Pool prides itself on offering a high level of level of customer services and a top-class instructional program for swimmers. He said people come from outside of New Westminster for the pool's instructional programs, and others come after work before heading to their homes outside the city.
While some New Westminster residents may head to Edmonds to check out the new facility when it opens, it's likely some south Burnaby residents have been enjoying recreational opportunities at Canada Games Pool rather than going to other facilities in Burnaby.
"We've known that we do have cross border shopping," Ellenwood said.
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